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LDP Manifesto Draft-4
- Subject: LDP Manifesto Draft-4
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- Date: Sat, 11 Dec 1999 13:57:07 -0800
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I think that the manifesto (Draft-4) is about ready to be put on the
site. A copy (in text format) is attached. I just converted Draft-3
It is essentially the same as Draft-3. The changes are:
1. A couple of typo-like corrections
2. A few words added to the abstract
3. Putting my email in it
4. Deleted info on the last revision which was a minor one. It
clutterd the heading. It would be nice to have a revision history
somewhere (but not in this document).
One suggestion I didn't implement was the splitting the Manifesto into
parts. Terry Dawson suggested this and I think that while it may be
a good idea, it would take some effort and discussion to do this.
So I think that we should go ahead and accept the present draft and
then discuss how and/or if we want to split up the Manifesto.
A reason for splitting it into parts is so that the Manifesto itself
would be a only a policy document containing our goals and license
policy which would not change frequently. Then the other parts which
frequently change would be separate documents. This includes the
"Current Projects ..." part and possiblly "Documentation Conventions".
Thus these "variable" documents could be rapidly changed to reflect
the current situation and would not require the extensive discussion
required to change the core Manifesto.
One can argue against this and point out that someone who reads the
manifesto to find out about our policy and goals might also like to
know what we are currently up to. It's more convenient if all this
information is found in the same document.
LINUX DOCUMENTATION PROJECT (LDP) MANIFESTO
Revised by David S. Lawyer
10 December 1999
Describes the goals, status, documentation conventions, and license
requirements of the Linux Documentation Project
The Linux Documentation Project is working on developing free, high
quality documentation for the GNU/Linux operating system. The overall
goal of the LDP is to collaborate in all of the issues of Linux
documentation. This includes the creation of "HOWTOs" and "Guides".
We hope to establish a system of documentation for Linux that will be
easy to use and search. This includes the integration of the manual
pages, info docs, HOWTOs, and other documents.
LDP's goal is to create the canonical set of free Linux documentation.
While online (and downloadable) documentation can be frequently
updated in order to stay on top of the many changes in the Linux
world, we also like to see the same docs included on CDs and printed
in books. If you are interested in publishing any of the LDP works,
see the section ``Publishing LDP Documents'', below.
The LDP is essentially a loose team of volunteers with minimal central
organization. Anyone who would like to help is welcome to join in
this effort. We feel that working together informally and discussing
projects on our mailing lists is the best way to go. When we disagree
on things, we try to reason with each other until we reach an informed
2. CURRENT PROJECTS and GETTING INVOLVED
Currently, the major effort of the LDP is the writing of HOWTOs. If
you think you would like to write a certain HOWTO first check to see
if one already exists on your topic. If so, you may contact the
maintainer and offer to help. If there is no HOWTO about it, you may
want to create a new HOWTO. See the Howto-HOWTO and/or the HOWTO-
INDEX for more details.
The "Guides" are large book-size LDP documents covering broad topics
such as system administration. We also maintain the man-pages for C-
programming and devices.
Other tasks include checking the HOWTOs for clarity and errors,
improving our website, and developing an integrated system of
documentation for Linux. If you are interested in any such project
(other than writing HOWTOs), contact the current LDP Leader Guylhem
Aznar at <>
3. LDP WEBSITES
The LDP has over 200 mirror sites worldwide where one may inspect
and/or download LDP documents. The main site is
http://www.linuxdoc.org. Go here to find the list of mirror sites and
then use the nearest mirror site.
4. DOCUMENTATION CONVENTIONS
Here are the conventions that are currently used for LDP documents.
If you are interested in writing another document using different
conventions, please let us know of your plans first.
Regular HOWTO documents must be in SGML format using the linuxdoc DTD,
which is quite simple. We are considering migrating to the DocBook
DTD. For mini-HOWTOs, you may use HTML format if you like.
The guides -- full books produced by the LDP -- have historically been
done in LaTeX, as their primary goal has been to be printed
documentation. However, guide authors have been moving towards SGML
with the DocBook DTD, because it allows them to create more different
kinds of output, both printed and on-line. If you use LaTeX, we have
a style file you can use to keep your printed look consistent with
other LDP documents.
The man pages -- the Unix standard for online manuals -- are created
with the Unix standard nroff man (or BSD mdoc) macros.
5. LICENSE REQUIREMENTS
Anyone may copy and distribute (sell or give away) LDP documents (or
other LDP works) in any media and/or format. No fees are required to
be paid to the authors. It is not required that the documents be
modifiable, but it is encouraged.
You can come up with your own license terms that satisfy these
conditions, or you can use a previously prepared license. The LDP has
a boilerplate license that you can use if you wish. Some people like
to use the GPL, while others write their own. There is a project
underway to create a special GPL license just for documents and this
may turn out to be a good choice.
The copyright for each document should be in the name of the principal
authors. ``The Linux Documentation Project'' isn't a formal entity
and thus can't be used as a copyright owner.
6. BOILERPLATE LICENSE
Here is a sample copyright notice and ``boilerplate'' license you may
want to use for your work:
Copyright (c) 2000 by John Doe (change to your name)
Please freely copy and distribute (sell or give away) this document in
any format. Forward any corrections and comments to the document
maintainer. You may create a derivative work and distribute it
provided that you:
1. Send your derivative work (in the most suitable format such as
sgml) to the LDP (Linux Documentation Project) or the like for posting
on the Internet. If not the LDP, then let the LDP know where it is
available. Except for translations, send a copy to the previous
maintainer's url as shown in the latest version.
2. License the derivative work with this same license or use GPL.
Include a copyright notice and at least a pointer to the license used.
3. Give due credit to previous authors and major contributors.
If you're considering making a derived work other than a translation,
it's requested that you discuss your plans with the current
7. PUBLISHING LDP DOCUMENTS
If you're a publishing company interested in distributing any of the
LDP documents, read on.
By the license requirements given previously, anyone is allowed to
publish and distribute verbatim copies of the Linux Documentation
Project documents. You don't need our explicit permission for this.
However, if you would like to distribute a translation or derivative
work based on any of the LDP documents, you may need to obtain
permission from the author, in writing, before doing so, if the
license requires that.
You may, of course, sell the LDP documents for profit. We encourage
you to do so. Keep in mind, however, that because the LDP documents
are freely distributable, anyone may make copies and distribute them.
Thus the parts of a book which may be freely copied should be
separated (and identified) in such a manner as to facilitate copying
them without infringing on the copyright of other material.
We do not require you to pay royalties from any profit earned by
selling LDP documents. However, we would like to suggest that if you
do sell LDP documents for profit, that you either offer the author
royalties, or donate a portion of your earnings to the author, the LDP
as a whole, or to the Linux development community. You may also wish
to send one or more free copies of the LDP documents that you are
distributing to the authors. Your show of support for the LDP and the
Linux community will be very much appreciated.
We would like to be informed of any plans to publish or distribute LDP
documents, just so we know how they're becoming available. If you are
publishing or planning to publish any LDP documents, please send mail
to firstname.lastname@example.org. It's nice to know who's doing
We encourage Linux software distributors to distribute the LDP
documents on CDs with their software. The LDP documents are intended
to be used as "official" Linux documentation, and we are glad to see
distributors bundling the LDP documents with the software.
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